B12 Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Posted: Mar 02, 2020
Most Americans know that vitamin C and D are important for maintaining optimal health. But do you know about the essential vitamin B12 that helps keep the body functioning properly? Chances are you probably know very little about this vital nutrient. The human body does not create vitamin B12, so people must get this nutrient from their diet. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in animal-based foods such as poultry, red meat, eggs, dairy, and fish. It is crucial for making DNA and red blood cells. Helps support the nervous and immune system, and aids in the conversion of food into energy. Deficiency of this vitamin in human beings has been shown to decrease lymphocytes and suppress natural killer (NK) cell activity. Supplementation of Vitamin B12 reverses these effects, providing us with the defensive cells necessary to keep us healthy.
What Causes B12 Deficiency?
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to someone not getting enough vitamin B12. An insufficient diet, certain health conditions, and some acid reflux and oral contraceptive medications can affect the absorption of vitamin B12 in the gut.
The following medical conditions include:
- Crohn's disease
- Celiac disease
- Atrophic gastritis and other digestive disorders
- Pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disorder)
The following factors increase the chances of having a vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Age, as one becomes less able to absorb B12 as they age
- Undergoing weight loss surgery or other stomach surgery, which can affect how the body absorbs vitamin B12
- The use of anti-acid medication and oral contraceptive pills over a prolonged period
Many of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency arise due to the lack of healthy blood cells in the body. The body needs plenty of these cells to get oxygen flowing to all parts of the body and to keep the organs in top shape.
The most common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Constipation, Nausea, or Diarrhea
- Pale skin or jaundice
- Tingling of the hands and feet
- Fast heartrate and shortness of breath
- Trouble thinking/lack of focus
- Mouth problems including a swollen red tongue, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, or a burning sensation in the mouth
- Low moods and irritability
- Low appetite and/or sudden weight loss
Long term vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to dementia, depression, a loss of balance, and nerve damage.
Most people can get enough vitamin B12 from dietary sources. For those who cannot consume sufficient amount of B12 nutrients from foods; B12 supplements, shots, or IV therapy may be prescribed by a professional.
IV therapy is valuable in the ability to deliver plenty of nutrients at once, with 100% bioavailability. A vitamin IV has more room for nutrients than a vitamin shot, so it is helpful when you need a boost quickly. The nutrients in a vitamin IV go directly into the bloodstream and are delivered to the tissues that need them most.
These injections go directly into the muscle and slowly absorb into the bloodstream through tiny blood vessels called capillaries. B12 shots are also helpful when you need a quick boost and don’t have the time to get a vitamin IV.
Most multivitamins contain vitamin B12. People can take B12 supplements in the form of oral tablets or sublingual tablets that dissolve under the tongue.
Spotting the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency early on and getting the right treatment can turn your life around. If you think you might be suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency, visit a doctor who specializes in naturopathic medicine and IV therapy in San Diego.
George Anderson is a freelance writer, blogger, and entrepreneur. I love reading, outdoor activities, traveling and staying current with new trends